View Full Version : Kodak Panoram #1 - Arrived and Used!

06-01-2007, 10:00 AM
This past Tuesday, my Kodak Panoram #1 arrived from Ritz Collectible Cameras in Phoenix.

I bought it there because:

a. They had one.

b. The salesman, Ed, agreed to run a couple rolls of film through it for me (I included money for postage and his time), and then return the undeveloped film to me. I agreed that if I didn't buy it, I'd email them copies of the scans to make a sale with somebody else. So I basically got to see exactly how it worked before purchasing, at a distance. Cool..!

There's not much to one of these cameras. Primitive and simple.

Simple is good. I got to looking at the mechanism that swings the lens, cleaned some old grease out of it with lighter fluid and Q-tips, then added a tiny bit of graphite to some more lighter fluid to try to get it into the rotating mechanisms. Just a tiny, tiny bit. And then the lens began to sometimes make it all the way across on the low-speed left-right transit, and the high-speed transit sounded quite a bit faster. But there was a bias, as if the left-right transits were slower than the right-left transits. So I looked closer...

At first it seemed that the camera might have been slightly mis-assembled, ie, there was a lever in the mechanism that gave the spring more pre-load / more force in the right-left transits, and a lever that seemed to bias that spring force to be greater in one direction than the other.

Yet the levers and such were keyed and slotted in such a way that it wasn't possible for somebody to get it wrong. Looked closer, and there was an adjustment to dial that bias out of the system. Played with that adjustment, and the left-right transits became more reliable and faster, and the right-left transits slowed down a little bit, till *all* transits worked. What's more, the transits sounded the same whether going left-right or right-left.

Then disassembled the viewfinder and cleaned the mirror and lens. Mirror was missing a lot of silver (I guess 100 years takes its toll), but the results were still a big improvement. I *may* spend a couple bucks and replace the mirror, but I'm leery - it's held in by two small nails, and I'm not thrilled with pulling them out or replacing them after getting a mirror. And it's reasonably usable now, and pretty bright. Doesn't need to be much better.

After all that, I carefully cleaned the swinging lens with Q-tips and lens cleaner.

And I made a rubber plug / aperture that will fit into the end of the lens, 4.5 diameter hole, so about 1 stop faster than the original built-in aperture. Found that idea on the Net, of course.

Then I ran a roll of 100 T-Max through it. Exposure seemed right, but I hadn't figured out the spacing quite right so every photo had overlap with the one next to it. Figured *that* out (solution: shoot on #2, #6, #10, and #14) and popped in another roll on an overcast day.

Perfect. All 4 shots came out, some were on high shutter and some on low. Everything works great, once you realize you only need to see the center of the shot in that puny little 45-degree viewfinder window.

Camera has a small light leak at the bottom. I'll put some electric tape over it first, to try to find the source, and then maybe add some foam to the tongue of the box to cure it.

I also found that it seems to work best to have the film feed from a 620 spool, and onto a 120 spool. Odd arrangement of camera internals / pins that the spools sit on.

Not camera related, but my 12 y/o son and I are spending 3 weeks driving a ragtop Jeep down Rt. 66 this July, and veering off 66 now and then for good stuff (like Phx, and the Grand Canyon, maybe go tubing down the Salt). Lotsa photo opps along the way; I expect the Panoram to be put to good use.

06-01-2007, 10:58 AM
I've wanted one of those for ages. Score for you!

06-01-2007, 11:19 AM
It's fun. Works really well. Shutter release is pretty easy (not stiff), and as the lens swings it all feels precise and smooth. Though when you look inside it's simple and crude.

Since there's no aperture and only two shutter speeds, you have to load film for the near future, ie, if the light changes much before you use the roll up you're out of luck.

jamie young
06-01-2007, 03:07 PM
Looking forward to seeing pics. My #1 panoram does the same uneven speed thing. I'll have to mess with it.

06-01-2007, 03:41 PM
Hi Jamie,

I'll put some up, maybe this w/e. At just 4 shots per roll, it'll take a while till I have a bunch of good ones. My faves so far have been the ones of my co-workers after bicycling, and a couple shots of small Ohio town where I live. Poof! One roll gone...

On mine, the adjustment I mentioned is at the rear end of arm that the spring hooks to. It's just a threaded screw, and as you thread it in or out it biases the amount of tension given to LH or RH side. I adjusted it till the LH and RH speeds sounded right, and till the low speed could successfully transit to the left or right.

There's no other adjust that I could see. Everything else is slotted in such a way to preclude (I assume) assembly line workers from getting it wrong.


jamie young
06-01-2007, 04:31 PM
If you come across a book called "The great wide Open" there is a great series of shots from a panoram by an unknown photographer of a road trip out west in the 20's or 30's. It's worth checking out. My 1D panoram doesn't fit 120 unless I sand off the spool ends a bit.

Jim Noel
06-10-2007, 04:45 PM
I'll be surprised if the electrical tape doesn't leak at some point. Much safer to use Black Photographic tape, a product all photographers should keep on hand.

06-12-2007, 05:31 PM
Thanks - I picked up some gaffer's tape at the photo store.

The leaks are minor, just along the bottom of the camera, in the margin of the film that would normally be blank. Very rarely intrudes into the image area at all, so.... Some gaffer's tape and rubber bands helps, but doesn't eliminate it.

I'm not going to worry about it anymore till next winter, when I have time to do more about it. Meantime, I'll just use it.

06-13-2007, 04:27 AM
Great camera

I've got a 4D and make great thing with it.